A few weeks ago I shared what it was like to run #RunEveryStreet in one of Gaborone’s neighbourhoods – Marapoathutlwa. I enjoyed the experience so much that I quickly moved onto another neighbourhood, Peolwane, formerly known as Ditimamodimo, and commonly referred to as Block 7. Peolwane is a swallow in Setswana and in Botswana this bird signals impending rain which in turn symbolises life and harvest in a country where water is so scarce.
What I Observed Running In Peolwane
There are clear similarities between the two neighbourhoods which is not really surprising as they border each other and were established around the same time. There is a mix of paved, tarred and dirt roads, as well as a range of houses and apartments that differ in size, structure and stature. There are also cows milling about as well as many collared dogs on the loose.
There are several colourful dimausu with some vendors selling roasted maize, watermelons, oranges and even bottled ginger beer. In addition to these food stalls, there are outdoor services including photocopying and printing, several car washes and even a place for washing sneakers!
But there are differences between the two places, some subtle and others, more obvious. The roads are narrower and the sides of many tarred streets are mysteriously covered in sand. I also found Peolwane to be a lot quieter with less energy and character than Marapoathutlwa.
Although I didn’t spot any state-run schools, I did find a brand-new private Secondary School, Enko Botho Campus which aims “to deliver a high quality international education based on the respected Cambridge and International Baccalaureate programmes”. There are two universities – Ba Isago University opened in 2002 and Limkokwing University in 2005, both established to increase access to higher learning education in Botswana. There are several other establishments including the Human Resource Development Council, Botswana Qualifications Authority, as well as a 24-hour Medical Rescue Centre and Sidilega Private Hospital opened in 2019 as the first citizen-owned private hospital in Botswana. Peolwane is also home to Childline Botswana which is an NGO founded in 1990 with the primary mission to help abused children using interventions like counselling, education, case work and alternative care programmes.
I spent four weeks on this project, two weeks less than I did for Marapoathutlwa. This is probably because there is a big undeveloped section in Peolwane and the institutions take up a lot of space. But I was also more efficient and focused having learnt from the many mistakes I made running Marapoathutlwa. So if you’re planning to #RunEveryStreet, I’ve got you covered!
Five Tips For Running Every Street
- Plan Every Run. My friend Myf did a similar project in Cardiff and adopted quite a structured approach from the onset. I, on the other hand, ran where I felt like it, often missing several streets and having to repeat many sections. Eventually tired of the back and forth, I became more focused and started planning my runs better. When I did Peolwane, I started with all the main arteries before strategically tackling the minor roads in different areas. The result? Improved efficiency as well as less boredom and frustration.
- Save The Best For Last. For Marapoathutlwa, I went for all the interesting sights first but that only meant the last couple of weeks were a real drag. So for Peolwane I saved some of the good bits for the last week when I needed extra motivation.
- Use The Garmin Course Planner. Towards the end of my first project, I realised I could create routes for specific areas and sync them to my watch! I used this function a lot more for Peolwane so I didn’t have to worry about writing all the streets on a piece of paper.
- Bring A Friend Along. If I were to do this again, I’d definitely bring a friend along. There is so much concentration involved especially when areas have hidden and confusing inner roads. Having someone there to confirm you’re on the right track would make such a difference. Also, when you take a wrong turn at least you have someone to blame!
- Take Your Time. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get the project done in a certain timeframe. But I think having this as a long-term project would be ideal, meaning you can run in other places when you get bored and return when you’re ready. But Myf has a different idea – run the whole neighbourhood in one day! Now that would be an epic ultra-marathon!
Will I #RunEveryStreet in another part of town? I think that would just be a logistical nightmare! So I have no plans to do that. But never say never right? And maybe if I take a long-term approach, it would seem a lot less daunting? So, watch this space!
Should I #RunEveryStreet in another neighbourhood? Should I #RunEveryStreet in my city? What did you find most interesting about this tour?